The first step after you have decided that you want to hold a beach wedding is deciding where to hold your beach wedding. The choices are endless which can make it extremely difficult to pick a location that both of you love. Of course you want a beach wedding location that has that pearly white and soft sand, those majestic palm trees swaying gently in the evening breeze, drinking your favorite cocktail while watching the sun go down in the distance as it passes behind the crystal clear ocean in front of you. What else could we possibly need in a beach wedding? Isn’t that all? That’s certainly what we thought initially, but boy were we wrong!
Unfortunately, there are also a bunch of practical things to consider when deciding on your beach wedding location as we found out as we started doing our research as to where we wanted to have it. If you have a wedding planner that specializes in beach weddings, she/he will undoubtedly be able to advise you of these, but we had to find out the hard way and through our own research given that we decided to take on the planning ourselves. As such, we would like to share some of our decision making processes below.
1. Abroad or At Home?
Both of us had our own ideas when it came to deciding whether to hold our beach wedding abroad or at home. The term “home”, meant two different countries for each of us given that Tim is originally from the Netherlands and Diana is from Indonesia. Beaches in the Netherlands aren’t exactly known for it’s spectacular weddings, so it was relatively easy to rule that out as an option. Besides, beaches in Netherlands is way too crowded and it would be hard to have the intimate experience we were after! Indonesia, however, is home to some of the finest beaches in the world so this was definitely under consideration.
In addition to Indonesia, we considered a number of other countries to hold our beach wedding. We considered Malaysia, Thailand, the Maldives, and even Greece. Ultimately we decided to hold the wedding in Lombok, Indonesia but it wasn’t an easy decision.
We asked ourselves the following questions in helping us make the decision:
2. Visa Requirements
If we decide to have a beach wedding abroad, how many of our guests would most likely need to apply for a visa to enter the foreign country? As we were planning to invite around 100 guests from around 18 different countries we wanted to make it as easy as possible for the majority of the guests. Given that the majority of the guests were Indonesian, it just made more sense to hold the beach wedding in Indonesia.
Would our guests be willing to spend (or have) the money on airfare, and be able to take the time off, to attend our wedding? Again, given that the majority of the attendees would be Indonesian, we figured that this was the best choice if we wanted people to show up at our wedding! We figured a lot of the European guests wouldn’t mind the opportunity to take a trip to Indonesia anyway, and possible stick a few extra days at the end of the beach wedding to have a little vacation or come up with some other travel ideas.
Would we be able to communicate to the locals in the country? This would be extremely important in planning the beach wedding as we didn’t plan on hiring a wedding planner. Diana, being a native Indonesian, speaks fluent Indonesian while Tim has a basic level. This seemed like a no brainer.
When choosing a beach wedding location in Asia, and many other tropical countries, there are often two seasons. One, being the rainy season, and the other being the non-rainy season. It goes without saying that when planning for a beach wedding it is advisable to plan it such that it falls in the non-rainy season. That is, of course, if you enjoy staying dry during your beach wedding! However, having a beach wedding in pouring rain could have it’s charm as well, although we preferred the dry one hence we decided in Lombok for our wedding in May 2015.
Cost obviously plays a big factor in deciding the location of your wedding also. We thought we would be getting a great deal by having our beach wedding in Indonesia versus Europe, but it turns out that much of the pricing has actually been westernized due to the increasing demand from Europe and Australia; especially in locations that have a lot of tourist activity. We will save some on our wedding versus holding it in Europe, but it isn’t what it used to be. All in all, however, we don’t mind having to pay a slight premium to have our wedding in a place like Lombok.
7. Unique Beach Wedding Ideas
Last but not least, it’s extremely important that you pick a location where you can add some unique touches to your wedding and that allows for your unique beach wedding ideas. This is ultimately what makes your wedding special and different from everyone else’s. We, for example, wanted to have purple peonies in our wedding. This is a flower that isn’t available everywhere as we soon figured out. Although it isn’t common in Lombok either, we had done some research and realized that there are a number of resorts that are willing to accommodate this request. This wasn’t the case in a number of other locations that we were looking at, and soon ruled these out as options for us.
Of course, in addition to above, everyone may have additional requirements or decision making factors as to when deciding on your beach wedding locatoin, but these were the most important for us. It’s important that you do your research up front so that you don’t end up in negotiations with a resort or venue only to realize that the location is not what you both wanted.